Scott backs pivotal score review

Tyson Stengle booted an important goal in the second quarter.

Chris Scott is adamant a pivotal score review was the right call after Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs by four points in an AFL Gather Round special.

The Cats held off the fast-finishing Bulldogs in a pulsating last term for the 14.11(95) to 14.7(91) win and they are 4-0 for the first time since 2017, when they made a preliminary final.

There were any number of big moments on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval and Tyson Stengle’s second goal in the third term proved to be high among them.

In his 250th game, Mark Blicavs had a shot at goal and it appeared as though Stengle had marked it over the line, meaning a behind.

But Stengle was paid the mark on review and he snapped the goal.

Asked if he thought the right call had been made, coach Scott said: “We saw the replay – yeah, we did.

“When we saw the replay we thought it was pretty clear. In my mind, that’s exactly how it should work.

“No-one could accuse me of being a sycophant for the AFL, but when they do a good job I’m prepared to acknowledge it.”

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said he assumed the right call had been made.

“With the score review, I suppose you almost make a commitment to yourself as a coach not to get caught up in it,” he said.

“You just accept whatever decisions being made are the right ones.”

Geelong held on despite massive games from Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore and captain Marcus Bontempelli, while defender Liam Jones kept Cats great Tom Hawkins goalless.

Stengle’s four goals were crucial, and Jeremy Cameron also starred, while Scott praised their midfield depth in the absence of injured stars Patrick Dangerfield and Cameron Guthrie.

Scott said their perfect start was a testament to a solid pre-season.

“It hasn’t surprised me, but if we had lost a couple of close games and been 1-3, that wouldn’t have surprised me that much either,” he said.

“I just have too much for the competition. The easy games are not there.

“I will be clear – it hasn’t surprised, but it was hard to predict exactly how well the combination was going to go. But the signs are good.”

Trailing by 16 points at three-quarter time, the Cats were pressing in the last term, which featured the AFL oddity of a Mexican Wave from the raucous Adelaide Oval crowd.

But after five Bulldogs inside 50s, Geelong managed to rebound quickly down the other end – not for the first time in the game – and Oliver Henry kicked their only goal of the final term.

Later in the final quarter, the Bulldogs were on the charge and a goal looked certain, only for star Cats defender Tom Stewart to somehow make a crucial spoil that killed off the passage of play.

“They were out … his work to get there was phenomenal. It’s a real pleasure having someone like that when the opposition are coming at you. Station him behind the ball and let him do his stuff,” Scott said.

Beveridge said the game, ultimately, could have gone either way.

“Obviously, it’s a ‘would-a, could-a, should-a’, but if the game goes a bit longer you never know – that’s a good sign for us,” he said.

“It felt it was ‘sliding doors’, to a degree, all night”

Geelong’s Brad Close was paid a free kick for high contact on the wing in the last minute and the Cats retained possession to the final siren to leave themselves at 4-0 with the Bulldogs on 2-2.

Out-of-favour Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae started as their sub and he was brought on late in the third term.